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  • Advice for Choosing Software

    There are many, many options when it comes to facility management software. How do you choose the right one for your storage business? Read this article for great advice.

    What tips can you share for those looking to buy or switch software?
    Amy Campbell
    Editor
    Inside Self-Storage
    [email protected]

    @AmyCampbell_ISS

  • #2
    Avoid anything from Storables such as Sitelink, ESS or StorEdge

    Comment


    • #3
      Key discussion points from an operations standpoint:

      a. Web based- that way you don't need to do software updates. You can access data from an ipad, phone, pc, etc anytime anywhere in the world. Key if you're on vacation or out of town.

      b. Google ranking- If your full, then most of the following points don't matter. The longer a person stays on your website and the more interaction they do, the higher your Google ranking will be. Thus, you want them to be able to do online reservations since this can take a while, versus just clicking through screens. Most people want to be the top Google ranking in a search, but there are too many big players, with far more resources than a Mom/Pop operator. Plus, even if you're the top search, your just one line item. We want to be in the top 3 Google rankings, because the top three get shown on the Google Map listing. This is way more powerful since it shows you as a top recommendation and it shows where you are at on the map.

      c. Google ranking- Some management softwares also have SEO (search engine optimization) and website design options. These tend to make your website rank higher since they are in the Self Storage business and know the key search words, can keep changing them and they are built to keep the website visitor on your page longer. We did not go this route. We have an independent management software with no web support. Hired a local SEO manager to get us to the top ranking. Took about 6 months. Costs a lot of money per month, so you have to have the number of units to absorb the cost and be in a Rent up phase.

      d. Sparefoot- owns Store edge, and others. They just came out about 2 months ago with a charge rule, that if you don't hit 50% new contracts versus reservations, you will be charged at 50%. If you don't use one of their management software.

      e. Uhaul- you can use their management software and don't have to use their customer reservation center. If you do use their reservation system, it costs $20 per reservation (or contract???). You also benefit from being on their reservation system if customers are looking for storage rentals while also doing Vehicle rentals.

      f. Customer Insurance- pick a management software that has an integrated customer insurance policy as an option. If you use and independent insurance solution, then you have to support two different systems. If integrated, then the customer collection and the payment to the insurer is seamless.

      g. Security systems- if you plan to use Security software systems like PTI, then make sure your software will integrate with them seamlessly. Whether this is for gate access or Door access.


      Personally, don't get to hung up on this. No big crystal ball, but the industry is consolidating. As it consolidates the support vendors such as Software, locks, security systems, management softwares, etc will start to also consolidate. The big player today, might not be the big player tomorrow.

      No recommendations on any of the above. Use what fits your business model.

      Just remember to stop and smell the lillies.


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      • #4
        Originally posted by teesee150 View Post
        Avoid anything from Storables such as Sitelink, ESS or StorEdge
        I use storEDGE everyday and I love it!

        What is good for one, may not always be for everyone!
        Don't put off until tomorrow, what you can do today.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by teesee150 View Post
          Avoid anything from Storables such as Sitelink, ESS or StorEdge
          I've used Sitelink for over 14 years, and while there are issues, and things change, I'm still very happy with it and wouldn't change. I still recommend it for anyone asking. And they still win the "Best of" in the Software category every year! So I think the majority are still overall pleased with the product.
          MamaDuke

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by teesee150 View Post
            Avoid anything from Storables such as Sitelink, ESS or StorEdge
            I've had zero problems with ESS

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by teesee150 View Post
              Avoid anything from Storables such as Sitelink, ESS or StorEdge
              Very happy with Storable and Sitelink after 15 years of use. Powerful management software, responsive support and always improving the product.

              Comment


              • #8
                Great info Clarkstoragellc Other than products, does anyone else have thoughts on choosing a software program?
                Amy Campbell
                Editor
                Inside Self-Storage
                [email protected]

                @AmyCampbell_ISS

                Comment


                • #9
                  Sparefoot is not worth to use right now. About 50-75% reservations are fake, repeated or no-show customers. But now they will charge you double of rent for these reservations. I tried google Ads, the cost each month is a little bit lower than sparefoot. I am also considering to hire SEO company to do google ranking for me, will anybody give me some suggestions?
                  Several years ago, there are several online agents do self storage business. I hope these companies would come back now, their opportunity shows up again. Sparefoot finally will limit their customers to the companies who integrate to their management software, other agents have chances. I actually like to pay $1000 each month for these agents. Sparefoot try to charge me $6000 for July. I have to leave
                  Last edited by merry; 4 August 2022, 03:05 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by merry View Post
                    Sparefoot is not worth to use right now. About 50-75% reservations are fake, repeated or no-show customers. But now they will charge you double of rent for these reservations. I tried google Ads, the cost each month is a little bit lower than sparefoot. I am also considering to hire SEO company to do google ranking for me, will anybody give me some suggestions?
                    Several years ago, there are several online agents do self storage business. I hope these companies would come back now, their opportunity shows up again. Sparefoot finally will limit their customers to the companies who integrate to their management software, other agents have chances. I actually like to pay $1000 each month for these agents. Sparefoot try to charge me $6000 for July. I have to leave
                    Marketing4storage.... 530.665.8036 they are wonderful, they just help with everything, they helped fill us up in about 18 months, and they are really available if any problems.....

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Another feature I like of our management software is the customer map. Would think most software's have this. It helps identify which part of a town or countryside your business is coming from. In a small town, not very useful. In our bigger city locations, it has helped to narrow down our Google Ads to specific zip codes where we are pulling customers from, or other zip code areas we want to pull from. This increases the value of our Google Ads by not wasting them in areas we can't compete.
                      image.png

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                      • #12
                        A problem I see coming is the subscription business model taking hold in our industry as it has been in other industries. Salesforce is a multi-billion dollar software company built on subscriptions. You want that added feature? Just a few more dollars and we'll unlock that capability in our software for you. Oh, you want that feature? We'll just add the fee to your monthly payment. While you're paying for these added capabilities that used to be included in your initial purchase, you're becoming more and more reliant on their services to operate your business. Their tech grows into every corner of your operations, to the point that they can then jack up the fees and you don't feel like you can drop their services and move to another product without a HUGE headache. You reluctantly continue to pay what they ask to keep your business running smoothly. You may not even own your company data anymore (read the fine print), they've got you over a barrel. I know this to be the case with Salesforce, they get so ingrained into large businesses it's impossible to unwind from their services and the companies pay them billions ($26.5 billion in 2022)

                        Sound a bit familiar? Many of the corporate storage stores do the very same thing to tenants. Get them in on a teaser rate, show them decent customer service and close the deal. Then the rate increases start coming, every 90 days. They know that most won't burn another Saturday, the goodwill of friends to help, and the time and effort to find somewhere else to move their stuff. They'll pay the increases, until one day it gets to be just too much, and they finally leave angry an annoyed with a huge job of moving in front of them. Then, the rate is dropped back down to that teaser again and the cycle starts over. It's safe to assume as managers and operators we don't want to be in that position with our management tools, tools that should be working for us, not us working for them.

                        As some consolidation takes place in the industry, you can see what their plans are. Credit card processing companies buying storage management software companies? Why? Maybe so they can force managers to only use their higher prices processing services. Online aggregators buying management software companies? Why? So they can eventually force users of some of the most popular management products to play ball with their referral programs. What's the most valuable aspect of management software? Data. Nearly 50 years ago, the statement was made "if something is free, you are the product". 50 years later we see how that has been borne out. Facebook, Tik Tok, Instagram, free app downloads, games, etc., they want us to engage for the data we (maybe) unknowingly provide them. Data on the customers WE earned. This leads me into my feelings about storage space aggregators, and their goal of getting between me and my customer. I won't do business with them or any company that affiliates with them. I believe they will ruin the storage business over time, and I won't assist them in any way, shape or form. They bring no value to our industry.

                        Recently, BMW announced that they will allow buyers of their new $100,000 cars to pay a small subscription fee to turn on the heated seats in their vehicles. All the hardware is built into the car, but they won't turn on unless you pay BMW a monthly fee. Cruise control may cost extra too. Too many companies have proven that subscription services are the way to make more money, I think it's what's next in many industries, especially one like ours which is familiar with and comfortable working with monthly recurring revenue cycles. What's another $100 per month for that service? That's only the income from one of my 10x10 units, no big deal.... well it is when it's eventually 4 of those units for the features you need and it's $5,000 a year EVERY YEAR out of your pocket with the costs increasing.


                        So, for me:
                        1) Own your data and have a local copy (so when you want to move, you have what you need).
                        2) Don't get in bed with a company that telegraphs what their ultimate intentions are, and doesn't have your success as their goal
                        3) Convenience is nice, but know the actual cost of that convenience and decide if it's worth it to you.
                        4) Don't allow one vendor or an integrated suite of vendors too much control or access to your operations.
                        5) Always be prepared to move to another product.
                        6) Read the fine print, that's where the traps lie. Understand what you're giving up.
                        7) No subscription models. I'm happy to purchase the product that will work for me, and a nominal annual fee for support, updates and maintenance to that product. Software works for me, I don't work for it.







                        Last edited by Storman; 5 August 2022, 11:10 AM.
                        In no way affiliated with Storman software.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by SBAZ View Post

                          Marketing4storage.... 530.665.8036 they are wonderful, they just help with everything, they helped fill us up in about 18 months, and they are really available if any problems.....
                          “Marketing4storage.... 530.665.8036” whatisthis? does a robot reply me?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by merry View Post

                            “Marketing4storage.... 530.665.8036” whatisthis? does a robot reply me?
                            Not at all. SBAZ is giving you a recommendation for a marketing company.
                            MamaDuke

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by merry View Post

                              “Marketing4storage.... 530.665.8036” whatisthis? does a robot reply me?
                              No It is me..... They really helped us when we opened,,

                              Comment

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